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Today's passenger jets travel the shortest (northern) route, which takes them over Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland.

However, that's where the Hindenburg would have encountered the Westerlies, blowing in the opposite direction. I don't think it was capable of rising to sufficient altitude to avoid them.

The trade winds blow well south of that latitude. The southern route is considerably longer.

I haven't been able to find any charts so far.

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Airships.net has a page which documents the flights of the Hindenburg. It includes dates, departures, and arrivals and has maps showing the eastbound and westbound flight-paths taken:

Hindenburg flight paths (click to enlarge)


I assume the numbers on the charts represent the 10 flights to/from Lakehurst in 1936. The fourth flight of 1936 (June 30 - July 2) was actually the fastest crossing of the year (52 hrs 49 min).

If that chart really is the 10 transatlantic crossings by the Hindenburg in 1936, then interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, the flight at the highest latitudes was also the fastest. I'm guessing that the weather must have cooperated on that occasion. Unfortunately, the closest weather map I've been able to find was dated 15 June 1936, some two weeks before the flight.


Times taken by flights on the eastbound route, from Lakehurst to Frankfurt, were generally faster, as you would expect.

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    And on that trip they had considerable delay, in part due to wind. – LаngLаngС Apr 27 at 16:57
  • Yes: I suspected as much. However, the westbound flight path No. 4 would have taken them directly into the westerlies (blowing in the opposite direction). They'd have been bucking into the wind most of the way. What did they do to ... uh ... neutralize the effect? – Ricky Apr 27 at 17:03
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    @Ricky Interestingly, assuming those represent the 10 flights to/from Lakehurst in 1936, the fourth (June 30 - July 2) was actually the fastest crossing of the year (52 hrs 49 min). I'm guessing that the weather cooperated on that occasion. Times from Lakehurst to Frankfurt were generally faster, as you would expect. – sempaiscuba Apr 27 at 17:31

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